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Re: (TV) Arthur Lee
It isn't about puritan streaks although they certainly exist in our culture.
I am speaking about " artists" who I find marginal at best. I'm sorry but
there is a great tendency to call so many artists great. Great? How
stretched that word has become. I take this position because I find there is
always a great peril in practicing blind idolatry. I find much of what is
said on this thread idolatry and nothing else. I suppose we all need heroes;
we all need those that can act it or say it better than we can.
I just question the status quo on this thread. If this pisses people off or
makes them uncomfortable I really can't help it. That's life.
----- Original Message -----
From: SCOTT ALDRICH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 7:13 PM
Subject: Re: (TV) Arthur Lee
> Joe that is so artfully put. Myself growing up in the 70's, in a culture
> substance abuse (mainly alcohol and "soft" drugs, but addicts aplenty), I
> had a visceral response against that type of indulgence for myself,
> especially after I did some experimenting and witnessed some people close
> me get burned out, a few died way too young. Sure I dug the aesthetic of
> dissoluteness, that's probably why I hacked down so many cigarettes and
> spent hours with my hair in front of a mirror during adolescence, but what
> really attracted me to punk, to Hell and the Ramones, Iggy, the Dolls et
> was it's nihilism towards mainstream culture, but particularly mainstream
> COUNTER-culture. "Blank Generation" and "Chinese Rocks", even, spoke miles
> about rejection and dissatisfaction with suburban, American norms, where
> everyone was told to "Take It Easy". For most of my music-loving friends
> the time, punk's rejection of "chops" was anathema. This was, after all,
> age of Yes and Jethro Tull. Television and the best of that music, Pere
> the Clash, Costello, really changed everyone's sensibilities. And most of
> the music from that punk scene has held up remarkably well, because it has
> vitality and risk, space and angularity. My mentor, an eighty-four year
> abstract painter here in NY, described to me once his reaction to seeing
> Cezanne for the first time as being total shock, all he saw was primitive
> blotches of color, it took him a long time to see the image. That seems
> inconcievable to me, especially considering a century of art that sprang
> from his work. From it came new histories, like African sculpture and
> Persian painting. Likewise in rock and roll in the mid to late seventies,
> new histories were formed in people's collective subconscious through the
> influence of punk. Suddenly, the predominance of the Doors, Zeppelin,
> Hendrix, the Beatles and the Stones were cast aside and antecedents to the
> new music were found in weird American "Nuggets" garage groups, like Love
> and the Seeds, or in the Kinks and the Yardbirds, or in rockabilly.
> As far as making value judgements about whether these artists/performers
> should be disregarded because of their personal habits, I think that's
> preposterous, and speaks to the puritan streak in our culture. How easy it
> is to feel disdain for addicts, how difficult it is to say "there but for
> the grace of God go I".
> >From: Joe Hartley <email@example.com>
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Subject: Re: (TV) Arthur Lee
> >Date: Wed, Feb 23, 2000, 2:33 PM
> > Jeffrey Germaine wrote:
> >> Be honest now. You mean to tell me that drugs,etc. have little or no
> >> on the "craft" of such folks as Thunders & Hell? Gimme a break!!
> >> Those two were nothing but a walkin' talkin' drugstore!!
> > It has a *lot* to do with their music. How many other songs capture the
> > sheer angst and desperation of youth as well as "Blank Generation?" In
> > order to capture that feeling, Hell must have felt it. If he'd been a
> > well-adjusted lad, we'd never have had that song. Is it not worth
> > to because it was written by a junky? Should I not read any WSBurroughs
> > because of his addictions?
> > These pieces of art are compelling to me because they convey the horror
> > of feeling helpless, unable to control their own lives. I couldn't
> > write something like that because I've never been that close to the edge
> > myself.
> > I don't "love the addiction," as you seem to think I do. It's with
> > that I see people constantly flirt with that edge, ready to tumble into
> > abyss at any moment. Of the emotions that come into play, there's
> > pity and a bit of revulsion at some primal level. Scorn and contempt
> > aren't among them.
> > I cannot separate the work of someone like WSB or Arthur Lee from their
> > addictions. It is a part of them, for better or worse. Of course one
> > hopes that anyone can overcome an addiction, but no one can do that
> > except the addict. Many succeed, many fail. It's generally none of my
> > business unless the addict has asked me to become involved, or has
> > me into involvement. (I have a looong Jaco Pastorius story that
> > how people get sucked into an addict's orbit. Some other time.)
> > The terse "Fuckin' junkie" response we've seen repeatedly focuses on
> > one aspect of an artist - that inability to control the addiction - and
> > leaves no room for discussion of the artist or the work. It's a sordid,
> > dirty part of the whole, but only part.
> > --
> > ======================================================================
> > Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - email@example.com
> > 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI 02882 - vox 401.782.9042
> > Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
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